The Consequences of Doing the “Right Thing”

I pretty much screwed myself by reporting misconduct at the group home I work for. Long story short, the confidentiality that should have been upheld when I made the report was immediately dissolved within 10 minutes of reporting possible verbal abuse to one of our profoundly retarded clients (being new I was going off of memory what the definition of verbal abuse was and reporting because A. It’s not right, and B. I could lose my job if I don’t report and it happened.) and now everyone at work hates me.

The initial report was made on Tuesday and I had said nothing to anyone else. I didn’t even realize the impact of my decision until yesterday when my boss came up to me and wanted to talk to me about a “problem” I was having with my co-worker. I ended up bawling while she told me that I took the training on abuse and neglect too “literally” and that I needed to “lighten up a bit” because otherwise there could be a big investigation and my co-worker could lose their job. She even told me what to say to my co-worker to apologize and indicate it was nothing personal.

I sobbed for at least 10 minutes aggressively apologizing and feeling like the worst person on earth.

I went to APOLOGIZE to said person while my eyes were still bloodshot from crying and he aggressively noted in front of the packed room he was in that he didn’t want to talk to me because they was still mad. I also overheard them in the room next to the one I was in telling the entire staff lunch room about the injustice I can caused against them and when I confronted him turned me away in a rude manner.

I was rubbed the wrong way by the whole thing and EXTREMELY angry that the co-worker for not allowing me to talk to them. After work I went to my boss’ bosses (who trained me) and told them about the situation. They said it wasn’t abuse what happened, but still misconduct which they would find out more about what happened (what was said to my boss in particular, because hey, it could be something completely different from what ACTUALLY happened).

I told them I wanted to quit…but I didn’t want to quit, and they said not to, they would help me figure it out and assured me I did the right thing. But honestly, after today, I don’t think the situation at my workplace is going to get any less hostile particularly from other co-workers who are close with the co-worker that I tattle tailed on…

My anxiety is about an 8.5/10 or a 90/100 right now. I was so drained from the whole thing yesterday I went to bed around 7pm and woke up at 3am to finish my paper due tomorrow. I’m not having a day long panic-attack but my body is feeling the effects of the panic that’s been induced about the whole thing.

I promise I’ll get back to everyone and their comments that they’ve left since my last entry ASAP after I get this paper in order…Thank you all for being so supportive in my life. I really need your positive energy today, and hopefully none of you think I did the wrong thing. I got myself INTO this mess by trying to do the RIGHT thing…

36 thoughts on “The Consequences of Doing the “Right Thing”

  1. Hi Barbie,

    I am so sorry that you are caught up in such a shitty situation. It is sad, but the type of abuse that it appears you witnessed is commonplace in these types of facilities. You reported it because of your training, and because you would not want your loved one treated in such a manner. I applaud you for standing up against this injustice.

    You did nothing wrong. You don’t have to feel bad, but this is the lousy thing about the whole situation. Unless there is physical proof and or witnesses this will go nowhere. This happens in these places all of the time. Clients face a great deal of verbal abuse, and it is wrong. The bosses have no incentive to back you without corroboration because it can be viewed as a negative on their supervisory performance. The culture encourages them to sweep anything that is not egregious under the rug whenever possible.

    Please don’t let this don’t snitch ghetto culture consume you. I know it is so hard to have people be mean to you even though you do not deserve it. You did what you thought was right. You tried to protect the dignity of someone who is vulnerable. I want to thank you on behalf of all the families who have loved ones in these places. They are deserving, legally of quality care, and morally of kindness. You have shown what you are all about here.

    Do not quit in haste. It will blow over. It might take a while, but it will. You will have to keep your comments to yourself, unless it is a safety issue. If you can do that, then stay. the clients need you. You need the pay. You are getting practical experience related to your major. There is good stuff here. Maybe you can wait until school is over and start looking. Maybe the situation will get better by then.

    I know our shared experience was short, but it was personally intense enough that I regard you as one of the kindest people I know. Don’t let these ignorant people drag you down into the abyss of depression. You should have no regrets in this matter. Hold your head up high. Take care of yourself and get through this. You can do it!!!!!!!!!! As our friend Michael would say, the important thing is what you know to be true, not what some ignorant people say”. You have the big heart, you have great karma, you deserve the best. Believe it.

    Stay strong.

    • Thanks Rob πŸ™‚ I miss Michael and I miss group…I was in group twice, both were winter time and both in a row. I actually had a moment a few weeks ago when I said, “wow. My first winter without group…weird.” Even though I didn’t have a psycho breakdown and that’s awesome, I totally miss how relaxed and happy I was when I was in group. And honestly, I’m HARDLY EVER relaxed. And I’m usually miserable rather than happy haha. Ullchhh. I hate tonight is Sunday night. I don’t want to go tomorrow. I’m in such a rut right now that I just want to stay home and do nothing for a while. Or do ANYTHING ELSE but spend 8 hours of my day working and avoiding my supervisors and boss and all the co-workers that don’t like me…But yes, the clients do need me. And seriously I’m very close to that degree…I need to get it. I wish the agoraphobia hadn’t screwed me as hard as it did. I’d already have a degree, and my grades would be better. When I graduate I might advocate for different NEIU administration policy on withdrawals for people with severe illness. And since mental illness isn’t taken as seriously as an auto immune disease or whatever else, I might as well make a stink about it when I’m done so they can’t penalize me however they feel like for being a bitch while I’m there. But the whole school anxiety thing is another topic…Sorry to rant. :/ Thanks for always having my back with support.

      • Meeting the people was the best thing about group. I tried to get my daughter to see Michael or Angie, but they do not see teens. We are struggling to find treatment that works for her. My only solace is that she is getting help thirty years before I did.

        As for group. I too have been there twice. It was offered again, but I didn’t think I was in a crisis mode. I didn’t make sense for me to go for something to do. I’m finally trying to make the most of my weekly therapy visits. Following her treatment plan, and not just ranting about whatever is bugging me.

        I think you should totally present to the school administration about how discriminatory their treatment of students with mental health issues is. I mean, if you had a physical ailment and needed treatment they would give you as much time as you needed.

        Maybe advocacy is in your future in some way.

        Bitch away!

      • πŸ™‚ I like that you’re backing me up on the advocacy train! I know you have a daughter, but you’ve never really talked much (that I’ve heard) about her struggles. I wasn’t sure if you were the only one in the family struggling, but I knew you said once you were afraid for your children going through the kinds of pain you’ve been through. As a teen, she’ll be getting help before I <– even did, and I was in my early twenties when I first got help, which I'm really thankful for.

  2. Sometimes we need to not think in terms of right and wrong and do what’s best for us. I’m sad to say that if you need a job it’s best to keep things to yourself and give the problem to the Lord to handle.

  3. You did the right thing!!! I would have done the same! This co-worker that is mad at you is only mad because he knows he was in the wrong and doesn’t want to admit it. You are a good person. Don’t let that jerk get to you. πŸ™‚ You worked hard for this job and you are good at it…you don’t need to quit! It will all be ok soon! πŸ™‚

      • I know the uncomfortableness at work has got to be really hard. :/ I would have a hard time with it too for sure. But it will get better! πŸ™‚

      • Time moves too quickly for all the good stuff and too slowly for all the bad stuff but yes I have faith it’ll get better too πŸ™‚ It has a little…but just a little.

      • oh you are so right about the good stuff moving too quickly and the bad stuff moving slowly…

  4. I have had problems doing this kind of thing before at work. It is very difficult to navigate all the social / professional rules of conduct, especially when multiple women are involved. I always end up with other women disliking me and retaliating against me for “doing the right thing” Maybe they should “lighten up” on you for making an error based on their invisible social rules. Sorry this happened. I have spent many tears on similar circumstances

    • That makes me sad to hear 😦 But you’re still kicking which is a nice thing to know. I’m just SUPER uncomfortable right now at work which…sucks. I hate tonight is a Sunday night.

      • It is terrible to dread going to work. We have to be there for so many hours a week. It would be nice to look forward to going there. People should be more forgiving of someone making a mistake but it seems like some people never let something go. I hope your situation blows over. You were so excited to get the job in the beginning , just like i was when I started my job.
        Once the air gets knocked out of your tires, it becomes a chore, rather than creative inspired work.
        I want to work for myself. I know what I am good at and I will not scold myself for making a little mistake here and there. I can set my own hours and do what helps people the way know how to.
        I am working on some ideas. It is too hard to work for companies with bureaucracy and crap.

      • I want to work for myself too. I just need a little more schooling. (And by that I mean I’ve got to get my Master’s and then get my hours of practice in under a psychiatrist so I can open my own practice). We’re gonna make it afterall though. (That was totally a Mary Tyler Moore inspired pep talk).

  5. Now lissen up. You are so right for what you did. Not just because you were trained to respond a certain way when confronted with that type of unacceptable behavior, but because you are a caring and principled human being.

    That poor client cannot comprehend what that man was going on about, just that he was doing it in a rude, abusive, uncaring, selfish and unproductive way. If he was trying to break down what self esteem that client had, create a certain amount of fear and anxiety about coming to the program and prove he is such an important person because he is able to curse and abuse a profoundly retarded individual well, he may have succeeded. And proven just what an ass he actually is. Had he cursed an able cognizant individual (such as myself) there would have been quite a different outcome – one that included ambulances, blood transfusions, prolonged hospital stays and the like. Cowards like this co-worker (not – nor ever – a colleague) do not deserve your respect or consideration. In truth, he is sub-human enough to deserve a job picking up trash in the parks or something similarly uninvolved with society. (Hey, buddy! You missed a piece of birdshit over there – how pathetic are you, for crying out loud?)

    This man actually deserves to lose his job. He is obviously not suited to dealing with people who are his mental and emotional superiors – like that client he cursed out. If, as Robshare above suggests, this makes your supervisors a bit nervous about your honesty, courage, dignity and respect for yourself and your clients, then I say JOB WELL DONE. This nonsense about lightening up, and don’t be so literal is bullshit of the highest kind. I am personally outraged at their response to you. As I have mentioned, I once upon a time worked with the same clients as you do. There is no – absolutely NO – excuse for that sort of behavior from a staff member toward a client, nor is there any excuse for that type of behavior from supervisory staff.

    IMHO, this should be a wonderful weekend for you. You have proven, beyond any doubt, your intestinal fortitude. You have shown courage and strength of character and mettle in the face of arbitrary and capricious bureaucratic ineptitude.

    And while (I fervently hope) you treat yourself well – mani/pedi, wash the car, go out for a scrumptious meal – or stay home and create one, if you are so inclined, watch that guilty pleasure movie you’ve been teasing yourself about, as you nibble on bon-bons and some simpering boy gives your toes a massage, THEY (who so incredibly wronged you) will gnash their teeth and wail woe woe woe at their errors in judgement – to have shattered your requisite confidentiality, to have suggested you erred by ‘literality’ in doing you job and having put themselves and their jobs (careers, perhaps? We can only hope, eh?) in serious jeopardy by saying to you what they did.

    Do not fret, sweet child of God. We make decisions in our lives constantly. The one you made to step forward and give a voice to that poor soul who cannot, who depends on you to advocate for them in all areas of their day with you, was so right as to be unquestionable. And no matter where it goes, no matter how this works out, you and I and Rob and my20somethingadventures and gentlekindness all know an immutable truth. That you are a good, kind, caring, principled and courageous woman who WILL step up when others fail to do so and prevent cruelty to another human being who depends on you – and thought they could do the same with that eejit – and right a wrong, with more concern for your fellow human being than yourself.

    We all know that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. You have done something far greater. You have done the right things while everyone seemd to look and throw scorn at you. Do not believe them. I know I will not be the last to write so in this comments section. Believe us all and know we support you completely and wholeheartedly in this challenging time.

    Soz for the length, but you needed to get it all – both barrels. Smile and be content.

    • Thanks Christopher πŸ™‚ I wish I had read your message earlier and treated myself to a weekend like that! My weekend was less than rewarding, and now I’m feeling a little sick from depression about going back tomorrow. I wish I had my degree and could move on to better things already, but you’re right I did the right thing, I just can’t help but feeling a little stupid for people talking down to me about how I DIDN’T. You folk who do know that you mentioned are a fine group of human beings, and I’m glad that you guys know. Tomorrow we’ll see how things go, hopefully better than next week. Working in an uncomfortable place is really taxing. Thank you for the supportive words that I need especially before returning tomorrow!

  6. Good people will always be “traitors” amongst liars and thieves. You sticking up for someone, and them turning your backs on you really says something about who they are at their core–total shitheads. Who cares what they think😊 I find that “Doing the right thing” normally comes with stepping on some toes, because the the opposing choice to “right”, in any given situation, is the” wrong”; and there will always be a perpetrator giving you the evil eye because you exposed the “evil” or the “wrong thing”. Not only did they show you what kind of people they are, but maybe now that they know that you have it in you to stick up for patients, maybe they’ll mind their P’s and Q’s and mind their manners.
    That’s exactly what i did at my last job and although the staff was extremely hostile, i knew my conscience was clean and they certainly minded their manners around the children from then on.
    If it becomes too much, i would absolutely report the whole place; mostly for the sake of the patients. Your boss making you apologize for taking the Training video TOO literally is inconceivable and extremely irresponsible, especially for someone managing, and being trusted with multiple human lives on a daily basis. Any sort of abuse is wrong and i think this situation came along for a reason. I find when something that i perceive as awful to me, i look for the test and the lesson–analyzing and digging certainly helps save-face.

    Keep your chin up, chest out and the corns of your grin upwards πŸ’—
    This week is going to rock!

      • Hey Lady! Im just shouting across the interwebs to see how you were and how your week was going so far. I saw Karma unfold today in a public place; it was utter poetry in motion, and i thought of you.

        The struggle is real, but conscious and intuition is flawlessπŸ’— Trust yourself and watch the Karma unfold with a grin πŸ’•πŸŽΆ

  7. Awe, I’m sorry that you went through such trouble. I’m really sorry about not being around, too. I’ve been in my own little world, lol. I’ve been in similar situations where I tried to do the right thing, and I ended up getting harassed to the point of depression afterward. I eventually resigned. Unfortunately, many modern places no longer value integrity. It’s a serious problem in many fields. I hope everything works out for you in the end.

    • Things are getting better, but very very slowly. In case I’m ever absent I’ll always be back, you’re on my ‘to read’ list of blogs I always have to catch up on FIRST hehe. Lord knows the more anxious I get the worse I am at keeping up with my blog, even though it helps SO MUCH to get it all out.

    • I appreciate you guys as well. Really I do. WordPress is an unspoken community I don’t really share with people I know because none of them are on it or dedicated to a blog, but the people who I’ve been following for years now are the ones who are near and dear to my heart no matter how far away.

  8. I would like to applaud your decision. I have been to group homes where verbal abuse to clients was extremely common. Complaining about it to the care workers was quite useless. The care workers who did have compassion for the clients, never said anything about the abuse propably because they were afraid to. It takes a very strong person to stand up for a client, in fact I have never seen a care worker stand up for a client before. I feel terrible that you are encountering hardship from your co-workers, but mabye it will help to recieve a thank you from someone who has suffered a lot of verbal abuse in group homes. Thank you for doing the right thing.

    • Thank you SO much for your support. When you’re stuck in a situation where everyone around you is frowning it’s hard to crack through to the other side where people actually SUPPORT your decision.

  9. It makes me so (so so so) angry that your employers are more concerned with “mud on their faces” than they are with upholding client integrity and confidentiality too. What a mess, BB! Listen carefully, this is NOT YOUR FAULT. This is what happens when staff try to shove things under the rug rather than handling a delicate matter properly and effectively.

    Whatever you do, do not blame yourself, ok? This is ON THEM. What I’ve noticed while reading this is that you’re about 75-80% MORE capable in handling stressful situations than you used to be. I mean that. You’ve come such a long way!

    I would encourage you to tough it out. I know it’s hard, but you’ve got the goods to stick it out- you know you do. That said, if you feel that the situation is continuing to escalate and does NOT improve over the upcoming weeks- get out. Save yourself. This isn’t the only job you’re ever going to have in your life, eh? Most importantly, look after yourself. Take your vitamins, stay hydrated, exercise, and get plenty of rest. if the job restricts any of those things- get out.

    Love ya. ;0) xo

    • πŸ˜€ Your seeing me being more capable of handling stressful situations is awesome for two reasons. 1. it shows how damn long I’ve been in contact with you even if it’s only been a little bit on wordpress. I’m happy to call you blog family πŸ˜‰ 2. I can’t see those kinds of things myself, and you pointing it out makes me feel like a proud puppy dog.

      Things are a little better, but the tension is still high, and ulch. There’s tons to say and there’s nothing to say about it. But I’m sticking it out. I’m happy you’ve got my back. I’ve got yours too. Just caught up with some of your posts, I’m thinking about ya. :-*

  10. I think you did the right thing. It is always awkward with the co worker and it will take time to calm down. I don’t think you should quit your job. Thiings like this may happen again and it will be good for you to see how it all works out in the end.

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